Wednesday, December 30, 2015

2015 in Review

I've done similar recaps for the last 2 years as well! Check out my travels in 2013 and 2014 here. It's fun to look back.

I rang in the New Year pretty exhausted with jet lag- New Year’s Eve was the day after I got back to Israel from Christmas break. After an 8 hour flight delay that made the already 25 hour-ish commute even more tortuous, it was pretty impressive that I was able to stay awake until midnight. What made it more fun was that David came to visit! We spent New Year’s Day touring around Haifa (in short sleeves, might I add), and then spent a few days sightseeing around Jerusalem. The very next week I had the chance to spend another week in Jerusalem for a seminar with my program. Great start to the year!

Israel with David
Solo Jerusalem time
January was all about Jerusalem, and February was all about Hebrew. I spent most of the month (and a few weeks of the previous one) spending 5 hours a day in an intensive Hebrew class. I loved pretty much every second of it. I really wish I’d gotten to study more Hebrew over here. I also had the chance to go on a few field trips with the other Hebrew students. The only downer of this month was re-injuring my knee and tearing my meniscus... something that would definitely end up affecting the rest of my year! 

Touring Israel- Nazareth, Tzfat, Rosh Pina

In the last week of February, it was time to switch languages and head over to France for a little trip. I made it to a long list of places on this trip- Switzerland, the French Alps, Alsace, and finally 4 magical days in Paris. The best day hands down was the one we spent at Versailles followed by a spontaneous trip to the Eiffel Tower at night.

France adventures

On March 1st, I headed back to Israel. And guess who met me there- my parents! I spent the first week of March touring with them, and it was an amazing trip. We spent time in Haifa, Galilee, and Jerusalem. I love getting to be the tour guide. And I also love tacking another vacation onto the end of a previous vacation. One of the fun parts about our time in Jerusalem was that it happened to be Purim- a fun holiday to witness!

Houdeks in the Holy Land

After conversations with doctors and my parents, we made the decision that I should go home to get my knee fixed. This event was not up to the standards of how great my 2015 started. I attended the first few weeks of the new semester, and then flew home in about the middle of March. If I remember right, March 26th was the big day when I got a brand new ACL.

Accessorizing the best I could.

April sucked. The original plan was for me to head back to school after just missing a few weeks, but they ended up needing to do a different surgery than planned that had a much longer recovery time. Basically, I couldn’t move for the whole month of April except for going to meetings with my sadistic physical therapist. If it was possible to die of boredom, I would have. On the bright side, I had a concerned puppy to look out for me and entertain me. This was the only view I could take pictures of this month. <3 <3

Things started looking up in May. I still couldn’t walk without crutches until around the end of the month, but it wasn’t painful anymore. Being able to move helped to alleviate my boredom, although the boredom was still pretty intense. I still couldn’t drive, and I didn’t really have anything to do anyway. David moving to the U.S. to start his internship  in the middle of the month was a definite improvement! 

June went by fast because of the exciting things going on. I finally had someone to do stuff with! At the beginning of the month, me and David road tripped it to Mall of America, which was great for my morale. As the month went by, we started getting closer and closer to Jenna’s WEDDING! It was so fun to have Jenna home and to get to be there for the festivities on June 27th. It was also very fun to see all of my extended family that came into town.

I was in the U.S. for just the first 5 days of July. We had a great family reunion in the Dells and celebrated the 4th together. On the 5th I flew back to Israel to start my summer semester classes. I had some catching up to do in school, so I had a packed schedule. I only had class 2 days a week, but on those days I had class from 10-8.. with a lot of homework to do on the days in between. To preserve my sanity I tried to get out and do something fun at least once a week (although with 100+ degree weather, that took a lot of motivation). For example, I stayed overnight in Jerusalem (yeah, I tend to go there a lot) and checked out Tel Aviv.

Back in Israel!

August was pretty much exactly the same as July. Working hard in school, trying to travel a little, and also trying not to die in the Israeli heat. I survived (and had a pretty good time). One of the highlights was getting some Mediterranean beach time. I flew back to the U.S. on the last day of the month. Most of this post is about me flying back and forth to the U.S. and periodically visiting Jerusalem and France- I guess those are the official themes of my 2015! F.Y.I., I’m currently writing this on that famous U.S.-Israel flight that I love so much (SARCASM, in case you didn’t catch onto that).

Israeli August
(Note the library picture in the middle, because that is the most accurate representation of how I spent my time that month)

My 6 weeks at home during the fall break was one of my favorite parts of this year. There was some nice fall weather that started early, and lots of time to be lazy at home with my parents and puppy. I made to downtown Chicago, and then at the end of September I went to visit friends and family out in Utah. This month was also the historic occasion when I did ballet for the first time since getting hurt the year before.

I was in the U.S. for the first few weeks of October. I managed to fit in a road trip with David down to Kansas and Missouri to visit some family and tour some church history sites (and watch him eat too much barbecue). Of course, there were more fall activities that do not exist in Israel (seeing leaves, carving pumpkins, and eating lots of pumpkin flavored things) that I had to fit in as well! After getting back to Israel, I got back in the swing of classes and stayed busy with that.

November was mostly spent being busy with school. I also made it to Jerusalem twice- once to hear Elder Holland speak, and once for a seminar. Of course, I fit in some sightseeing too. I ended up getting a real American Thanksgiving dinner with the members of the Galilee branch (and even had the experience of sleeping over in the church building afterwards haha). On the last day of the month I headed over to la France once again.

November Jerusalem

My first week of December was spent visiting Strasbourg (Christmas markets!) and around where David’s from in the south. Despite getting to go on vacation, the month didn’t start out very well when I lost my puppy unexpectedly :(. Back in Israel, I took a day to visit Nazareth and to track down some Christmas spirit. After just one more week of class, I flew home for Christmas for a whirlwind trip that was half spent in the haze of jet lag. It was great to celebrate my favorite holiday with my family.

France in December
Israeli Christmas spirit

Now, on the last day of 2015, I’m back in Haifa for one last month of school. My third and final semester of grad school is almost over! I have a lot of work to do this month, and of course I’ll also have to find some time to travel and enjoy Israel while I’m still here. It’s definitely bittersweet to know my international adventures are over (at least for the foreseeable future). I love being home and I’m looking forward to that, but I don’t like not having anything exciting on the horizon. I'm afraid that my life will be boring now!!

I started traveling in April of 2013, and now at the beginning of 2016 it’s all finally coming to an end. It will be a big change! I don’t know yet what 2016 will bring, but I guess I’ll find out. 

Happy New Year!

(p.s. Just noticed that this is my 150th blog post!)

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